Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tier Announces IRS Says Credit and Debit Card Convenience Fees are Deductible for Some Individual Taxpayers Who Itemize

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tier Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TIER) and Official Payments Corporation, its wholly-owned subsidiary, today announced that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided that the convenience fees charged for paying federal individual income taxes using a credit or debit card are deductible for some taxpayers who itemize. This decision is a change from prior policy.

The IRS had previously determined that only convenience fees incurred by business taxpayers can be deducted as a business expense.

In reassessing the position for individual taxpayers, the IRS decided that the convenience fees associated with the payment of individual federal taxes, including payment of estimated tax, can be included as a miscellaneous itemized deduction. However, only those miscellaneous expenses that exceeded 2 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income can be deducted.

Convenience fees are deductible in the tax year they occur. For example, fees charged to payments made during 2009 can be claimed on the 2009 return filed next year.

Since 1999, when Official Payments began processing federal tax payments for the IRS, the company has processed over $9.0 billion in federal taxes. Payments may be made securely with an American Express®, Discover® Network, MasterCard® or Visa® card or by calling 1-800-2PAY-TAXSM (1-800-272-9829) or visiting

Official Payments charges a convenience fee for this service. Taxpayers using credit and debit cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card’s program, earn reward points, frequent flyer miles or money back for paying their taxes. Taxpayers are advised to check with their card issuer for details.

Not everyone who pays a convenience fee will be able to deduct them. Taxpayers first must be eligible to file a Form 1040 Schedule A to itemize their expenses. And, taxpayers must have enough miscellaneous expenses to exceed 2 percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income. Miscellaneous expenses include but are not limited to items such as tax preparation costs, job search expenses and unreimbursed employee expenses.

Most individuals still pay their federal tax obligations by check, but last year more than 4 million taxpayers electronically paid their taxes according to the IRS.

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